Pitcher Justin Folley winds up to put one over the plate during one of the games of the Vallarta's Softball Benefit on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. The event, which also included a silent auction, was a fundraiser for the family members of teenager Nineth Pereyra, who died in a car crash in July, with her mother, Carmen Gomez, suffering paralysis from the incident.

Photo by Andy Bockelman

Pitcher Justin Folley winds up to put one over the plate during one of the games of the Vallarta's Softball Benefit on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. The event, which also included a silent auction, was a fundraiser for the family members of teenager Nineth Pereyra, who died in a car crash in July, with her mother, Carmen Gomez, suffering paralysis from the incident.

Craig pitches in for softball event to benefit local family

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When it comes to helping out those in need, the folks of Craig and Moffat County always are willing to step up to the plate.

The Vallarta’s Softball Benefit this weekend showed what people in the area are capable of doing when they want to reach out, even if it means just gathering to play their favorite sport. The event was a fundraiser for the family of Nineth Pereyra, a Craig teenager who was instantly killed in a car accident in Wyoming in July.

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Bailey Louthan, 12, takes her cut at a pitch during one of the games of the Vallarta's Softball Benefit on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Louthan's team, Sand Springs, was one of eight that played in the fundraising event.

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Signs welcome the crowd to the Vallarta's Softball Benefit on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park.

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Gift baskets and many other items donated by local businesses and craftspeople await bids in a silent auction during the Vallarta's Softball Benefit on Saturday at Loudy-Simpson Park. Organizers estimate the event raised at least $3,000 to help local families recently affected by tragedy.

Pereyra’s mother, Carmen Gomez, also was in the crash, suffering a spinal injury that has resulted in paralysis, for which she still is hospitalized.

“She’s doing a lot better,” said Megan Charchalis, who helped organize the benefit. “We’re so glad we had so many people come out for this.”

The tournament consisted of eight teams across the four softball fields at Loudy-Simpson Park, playing hard the entire day. Many of them already were assembled from the summer softball league, while others were formed solely to show their support for the cause.

Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant fielded two teams, one of which was made up of family members who traveled from Longmont.

The owners of Vallarta’s, who are known for hosting fundraising nights for various causes in the community, are relatives of Pereyra and Gomez, whose names were emblazoned on the backs of team shirts.

Between games, Macho Nuñez, part of the Vallarta’s staff and Nineth’s cousin, said he was touched to see the amount of support shown for the family.

“I think people appreciate what we do during the year, so it’s good to know we can count on people in Craig,” he said.

Nuñez’s favorite part of the day was a midday home run derby, with men and women testing their batting abilities and knocking pitches as far as possible.

Two of the greatest sluggers were Kelly Syvertson and Chris Winder. With experience in professional baseball, Winder said he was glad to come back to Craig and participate in a day on the diamond with low pressure and a lot of fun and friends.

“It’s just a great cause,” he said.

For those in the stands, they were able to partake in concessions provided by Gino’s Neighborhood Pizzeria and Grill, with a portion of the money going toward the Pereyras and Nuñezes. A silent auction with dozens of items and services from local businesses and craftspeople also attracted plenty of attention.

Midway through Saturday’s action, Charchalis estimated that the benefit had brought in about $3,000.

Further donations for the family still can be made at Yampa Valley Bank.

“I think it was good for us to give back to Vallarta’s for all they do because they’re great community members,” Charchalis said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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